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All the Chicken Salad You Can Eat this Summer!
By Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal
Chicken salad is a perfect crowd pleaser. One of those great meals that everyone loves! It’s healthy, simple, requires limited ingredients and is extremely versatile. Perfect for the multi- tasking women who have to juggle between work, home, family and end up neglecting themselves. So ladies, here are some salads you can put together in a jiffy and toss it in the refrigerator for later!
Prepping the Chicken
Whole chicken, curry cut, breasts, thighs, boneless, anything you get from the chilled chicken options available on your local supermarket shelf will work. Cook it well. Unlike most people that just boil chicken I like to make the most of the chicken so I cook it with aromatics and seasoning.
- Place chicken on the bone, in a pot, with onion, carrot, celery, garlic a bay leaf and saltto taste.
- Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until chicken is done. Cook it well, it should be opaque white through and through, not pink or red.
- Let chicken sit in the pot for 30 minutes, then remove from pot and place on a plate. (Don't discard the cooking water, use that fantastic bone broth wisely in a soup.)
- Once cool, discard skin, pick the cooked meat off the bones with your fingers or using two forks. Discard the bones and you have cooked chicken meat that is tasty by itself or perfect to make sandwiches, add to other dishes and salads. Store it in the fridge anduse as required.
The above method works for any raw chicken but I like to use chicken with bones as it adds to the flavor.
Now, some popular chicken salads to experiment with:
- Larb a Thai - Vietnamese salad of minced meat (chicken is perfect) tossed with Asian herbslike basil, coriander, chilies, sliced onions and lime juice.
- Hawaiian salad with BBQ chicken and grilled pineapple
- Asian coleslaw: Red and green cabbage sprouts, apples, green onions, Asian herbs, coriander, apple with spicy chicken strips cooked with green Thai curry paste with toasted sesame seed.
- Italian Salad: Marinate Chicken in Balsamic, grill and toss with rocket, tomato chunks, and toasted peanuts with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper for an Italian option.
- Lebanese Salad: Toss Harrisa marinated and grilled chicken into Lebanese Tabouleh for a Lebanese salad meal in a bowl.
- Try twisting classics like a Caesar salad tossed with grilled tangy lemony chicken.
- Similarly Mesclun, Niçoise Cobb and most other salads can be made more substantial and delicious with chicken.
- Or create your own version of a ‘Chef salad’ with whatever you have in the fridge. I keep an ample supply of low maintenance salad stuff in my fridge for just such opportunities; washed lettuce, prepared vegetables, cooked beans and cereals, and most importantly cooked chicken. And a few things I am very partial to in salads like celery, which makes for a great savory, herby crunchy contrast to soft chicken, fresh, chopped herbs, I never skimp on these, they really wake up chicken salad. And then when I have to I just toss things up in a giant bowl. Sometimes I make enough to carry me through a few meals by storing individual servings in tightly sealed plastic containers that just have to be tossed with dressing to eat. This also means I can take out one serving at a time to pack into lunch boxes and often I'll open my fridge looking for a snack and end up grabbing a salad, instead. Not a bad thing is it?
About the Author:
Rushina Munshaw-Ghildiyal is a corporate food consultant, writer, stylist and author with more than 12 years of experience in the Indian food industry. One of India’s pioneering food bloggers, today, she is head of A Perfect Bite® Consulting, a premier food consulting firm and the APB Cook Studio®. An expert in Indian and World cuisines, her first book, A Pinch of This, A Handful of That, released in December 2013. She wrote a longer version of this article for Real Good Chicken.